ACLU of Oregon files complaint about petitions to change Measure 110

 The Coalition to Fix & Improve Measure 110 says it will fix the “administrative error”

By: – January 8, 2024
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A campaign seeking to change Measure 110 is fixing an error after the ACLU of Oregon filed a complaint about their paperwork with the state. (Isiah Holmes/Wisconsin Examiner)

The ACLU of Oregon wants the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office to investigate whether the “Fix and Improve Measure 110” campaign is violating campaign finance laws.

Sandy Chung, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon, filed a complaint with the state elections watchdog on Friday, alleging the campaign that wants to change Measure 110 in 2024 hasn’t properly filed information with the state and may not have reported expenditures as required by the law. The ACLU of Oregon released a copy of the complaint on Monday.

In response, Paige Richardson, a strategist with the Coalition to Fix & Improve Measure 110, said the group will correct its error.

“The committee appreciates the ACLU of Oregon bringing this administrative error to our attention,” Richardson said in a statement to the Capital Chronicle. “We are strong supporters of transparency, and efforts are underway to make the necessary corrections.”

The complaint – and the campaign’s quick response – demonstrates that Measure 110 is a volatile issue and will be hard-fought in 2024. In 2020, voters passed the measure, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs and put a share of cannabis revenue towards drug and alcohol addiction programs and services. Opinions on Measure 110 vary from Republicans calling for a full repeal to providers asking Oregonians to give the measure a chance to succeed before writing it off.

The campaign, funded in part by retired Nike co-founder Phil Knight, doesn’t seek a full repeal but wants to ban public drug use and put incentives in place that encourage people to enter treatment. One of the group’s proposed ballot initiatives would help police fight drug traffickers, including with higher penalties for repeat offenders involved in manufacturing or delivery of drugs. In all, the campaign has four different proposals, and it’s unclear which ones may go to Oregon voters in November.

The complaint said two of the petitions didn’t have the required statements citing the backing organization, despite having six paid circulators collecting signatures. The complaint also alleges $30,000 in expenditures for a canvassing company that helped two of the petitions were not properly reported in each petition’s filing.

In a statement, Chung said it’s important to have transparency in a democracy and criticized the campaign’s goals for Measure 110.

“It is deeply concerning that a group like this with the resources to pay for the best lawyers and accounting services would show such indifference for Oregon laws and voters,” Chung said, calling the petitioners careless and trying to pressure the state to return to the “failed war on drugs.”

To qualify,  about 120,400 valid signatures are needed by July to get any of the proposed initiatives on the November ballot.

Laura Kerns, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office, confirmed the agency received the complaint. In general, the office reviews a complaint and determines if there’s evidence to proceed with an investigation and notifies a campaign, Kerns said.

Source: ACLU of Oregon files complaint about petitions to change Measure 110  – Oregon Capital Chronicle

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